Today Parker spoke with Annie Croner, Executive Assistant and the founder of Whole Assistant, a blog aimed at improving the profession and practice of Administrative Support while addressing the stress and burnout many in the field regularly encounter.
Annie created Whole Assistant to help those in the occupation improve both their professional and personal lives. “We take care of a lot of people,” Annie says, “so often times we can let ourselves fall by the wayside.”
“We take care of a lot of people, so often times we can let ourselves fall by the wayside.”
A newly certified life coach, Annie believes that self-care is important to maintain a positive attitude and keep yourself motivated. One practice that she finds helpful is to write in a journal, a stream of conscious practice she calls a “thought download”, that allows her to look at her thoughts objectively. For example, if upon reviewing her notes she sees that she has been overly hard on herself, she could take a closer look at what is causing that feeling and make adjustments.
“As people (Administrative Assistants) who love to give to other people, we constantly seek to give. I’ve been really mindful of what will actually fill me up – what is going to energize me and make me feel alive, like I am contributing to the world?”
To help with that, Annie recommends creating a system around you to make into a habit. For example, start the day the same way each morning. However, habits alone will not be enough – you also have to follow through on your plans. Annie notes, “Following through allows you to honor yourself and gives you the opportunity to do the personal things that you would like to do.”
Making time to focus on the personal is at the root of self-care, which according to her is the act of intentionally creating a life that you love by integrating those things which brings you “relentless joy”. Two other pieces are necessary: healthy habits and safe-guarding the true self. Those three pieces integrated together can not only be an amazing tool for self-care, but in creating a life that you love.
“As people who love to give to other people, we constantly seek to give. I’ve been really mindful of what will actually fill me up – what is going to energize me and make me feel alive, like I am contributing to the world?”
Another tip Annie has is to shift how you think about productivity, which she writes about on her blog here. While we have been trained to think of productivity as “time + effort”, she’s found that a better model is to focus on the amount and quality that its produced. If, for example, you have your tasks set for the day and you accomplish them in four hours, this doesn’t mean that you were only productive for half of a day. Instead, you can feel accomplished that you met your goals and spend time on focusing on other tasks that can improve your mental and physical self, which will lead to greater performance in your job.
Thank you, Annie!